February 20, 2004
Huel Love funeral Saturday
An era in the history of Talladega's legal community came to an end Wednesday evening with the passing of attorney Huel McKinnley Love Sr., 82, at his residence. Love opened his practice in Talladega County in 1949, and appeared in court for the last time the day he died.
Funeral will be Saturday at 3 p.m. at Parkway Assembly of God with his son, the Rev. John Love, officiating. Burial will be in Pine Hill Memorial Cemetery.
A native of Elmore County, Love grew up in Clay County but lived in Talladega for the past 55 years. He graduated from Bibb Graves High School and the University of Alabama Law School.
In addition to practicing law since 1949, he served as an Alabama State Bar Commissioner for two terms, and was a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association for 50 years. He was active in Boy Scout Troop 130, a founding member of Fairpark Baptist Church, and helped to found Parkway Assembly of God, where attended until he died. He was the founding partner of the Love Law Firm and helped start the free breakfast program at Northside Hal Henderson Elementary School.
Attorney Ralph Gaines began practicing law in Talladega County at the same time Love did.
"We had a lot of cases against one another," Gaines said. "He would file lawsuits and I would defend them. We tried cases in Talladega, in Anniston, and in Coosa and St. Clair counties. But even though we opposed each other in these cases, you could always tell, when he told you something, you knew it was true and accurate. And when the case was over, we always shook hands and were friends. He will be missed."
"Years ago," Gaines said, "our oldest daughter was burned in a fire, pretty severely. He was the first one to call as soon as he heard about it. He even offered to give her blood if he had the right type and if she needed it. That's the kind of man he was."
Attorney Rod Giddens had a similar story. "He called me when I was sick last year, on Christmas Day. He told me he was counting his blessings, and that I was one of them. I had a long talk with him in the office, after I came back to work. I told him I loved him, and he said he loved me, too. He said he was tired, but he kept going."
"When I was a young prosecutor," Giddens continued, "he was defending a case in front of Judge (Bill) Sullivan, and I had done voir dire examination of the jurors. When Sullivan asked for questions from the defense, Love said he didn't have any, they'd just take the first 12. I thought, uh-oh, what am I up against here. And I would have given anything to be able to see him 40 years ago. He was a special man. And you could talk to him about anything, legal or personal, and know that it would be kept in confidence."
Talladega County Presiding Circuit Judge Julian King characterized Love as "an excellent attorney and a treasured friend. It was always a pleasure to interact with him in the legal community. When I was a young attorney, he always took the time to give advice, not just to me but to anyone who was beginning their career. He was always a gentleman, and his heart was as big as the Judicial Building.
"I had a civil docket call a couple of weeks ago," King said, "on what happened to be his 82nd birthday. There must have been 200, maybe 250 lawyers in there that sang happy birthday to him. When I saw him yesterday, he was in the hallway, just having come down from District Court, and I mentioned that I hoped we would be singing to him again next year. He told me he was going to live to be 100, just like his mama had.
"I know he's up there in heaven now, with Judge Sullivan, and they're both having a big laugh."
Former Circuit Judge Jerry Fielding said he had "lost a personal friend, and a man for whom I had a great deal of respect. He was a legend in the legal community, always very diligent in representing his clients at all times. He was always polite and respectful. He will be missed not only in the legal community, but in the broader community as well. He was a true friend, and an outstanding lawyer."
Talladega County Bar Commissioner Blake Lazenby said he was "devastated by the news. He was timeless, and he would do whatever he could to selflessly help and advise young lawyers."
Lazenby succeeded Love as bar commissioner. "When his tenure ended, our county grievance commission was about to be disbanded by the state. He continued to work very hard with me on that, and we were eventually able to get it tabled. But he always made me feel I could come to him with anything. If I had a problem, as a lawyer or bar commissioner, I know he would drop whatever he was doing to help me."
Talladega County District Attorney Steve Giddens said he "could go on for hours about what he meant to me. He was a friend of my family growing up. I went to kindergarten with his daughter, I've known him that long. And I have never known a finer man. I worked with him, went to church with him, went to golf tournaments with him in Birmingham. I know he did a lot for lawyers and for the community in Talladega County, but I also know that his family, his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, were always the most important to him.
"Once in church," he continued, "he told me he just wanted a little corner of Heaven. I know he got that. He was an example of what young lawyers should aspire to be, and he will be missed by many."
Love is survived by his wife, Betty C. Love of Talladega; five daughters, Alice Fay Love of Birmingham, Virginia Paige Smith of Atlanta, Carla Ann Tinney of Talladega; D. Leigh Love of Helena, and Julie Love Templeton of Tuscaloosa; four sons, Fred. F. Ledbetter Jr. of Birmingham, Huel M. Love Jr. of Talladega, the Rev. John Hugh Love of Talladega and Jason L. Love of Nashville; one sister, Edna Pitts; one nephew, Huel "Jimmy" Pitts of San Antonio, Texas; 13 grandchildren, Latisha Ledbetter, Colton Ledbetter, Cortney Smith, Huel M. "Tres" Love III, Zachary Cotton Love, Joshua Tony, Jason Tony, Jerry Whitten Jr., Heather Molsbee, Jackie Strickland, Tyler Love, Melissa Love and Caleb Love; and nine great-grandchildren.
Active pallbearers will be his grandsons and great-grandsons.
Honorary pallbearers will be the Talladega County Bar Association, Lyndol Bolton, L.M. Veazey Jr., Harold Howell, Alfred C. Mitchell, Joe Mitchell, Charlie Jackson Sr., and Charlie Jackson Jr.
The family will receive friends Friday at Usrey Funeral Home in Talladega from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Usrey Funeral Home will direct the service.
February 21, 2004
WILLIAM V. COLLIER
SYLACAUGA — William V. Collier, 73, died Feb. 20.
Funeral arrangements will be announced by Curtis and Son Funeral Home North Chapel.
ANNISTON — Elizabeth Cook, 79, died Feb. 20 at Regional Medical Center.
Funeral arrangements will be announced by Ervin Funeral Chapel.
LENA IRVIN HUGHES
LINEVILLE — Funeral service for Lena Irvin Hughes, 68, will be Saturday at 2 p.m. at Benefield Funeral Home chapel in Lineville with the Rev. Robert Hall officiating. Burial will be in Clairmont Springs Baptist Church Cemetery.
Mrs. Hughes died Feb. 19 at Clay County Hospital. She was a native of Talladega County, was a former resident of Georgia and had lived in Clay County for the past 18 years. She had been employed by Robinson's Manufacturing Company and was a member of Life Tabernacle Church in Anniston. She was preceded in death by one son, Billy Wesley Saxon; and brothers, Earl Irvin and Manon Irvin.
She is survived by daughters, Vickie Saxon Wilson of Lineville, Connie Jean Saxon Burford of Heflin, Jimmie Sue Saxon Jenkins of Anniston, Polly Saxon McCoy of Heflin, Lisa Saxon Portier of Lineville and Kathy Saxon Lacey of Delta; son, James "Jabo" Saxon; sisters, Olean Brand of Ashland and Carolyn Campbell of Dozier; brother, Denny Irvin of Lineville; 20 grandchildren; and 27 great-grandchildren.
Pallbearers will be Wesley Hodge, Thomas Rome, Sidney Portier, John Campbell, Julio Mir Gonzales, Manon Irvin Jr. and Buddy McCoy.
The family will receive friends at the funeral home until service time.
Benefield Funeral Home in Lineville will direct the service.
YONKERS, N.Y. — Lessie Owens, formerly of Alexander City, died Feb. 20 in Yonkers.
Funeral arrangements will be announced by Armour's Memorial Funeral Home.
LILA MAYLENE SARGENT
GARDENDALE — Graveside service for Lila Maylene Sargent, 72, will be Saturday at 2 p.m. in Evergreen Memorial Cemetery
with Elder Shawn Cordner officiating. Mrs. Sargent died Feb. 18 at Carraway Methodist Medical Center.
She is survived by daughters, Denise Benefield of Gardendale, Shirley Sargent of Alexander City and Chris Newman and husband Ray of Childersburg; sister, Pat Bush of Sylacauga; brothers, Irvin D. Cochran of Goodwater, John (Toby) Cochran of Sylacauga and Tommy Cochran of Sylacauga; and grandchildren, Stephen, Luke and Ariel Benefield and Nicole, Dakota and Logan Newman.
The family will receive friends Saturday from 12:30 until 2 p.m. at the funeral home.
Curtis and Son Funeral Home North Chapel will direct the service.
LAURA VIRGINIA TURNER
PELL CITY — Funeral service for Laura Virginia "Sister" Turner, 82, will be Saturday at 4 p.m. at Kilgroe Funeral Home chapel in Pell City with the Rev. Tillman Harris officiating. Burial will be in Mt. Zion Cemetery.
Mrs. Turner died Feb. 20.
She is survived by sister, Hazie Lou Smith; several nieces and nephews, great-nieces and nephews and one great-great-nephew.
The family will receive friends Saturday from 1 p.m. until service time at the funeral home.
Kilgroe Funeral Home in Pell City will direct the service.
EARL D. WAGNER
SYLACAUGA — Graveside service for Earl D. Wagner, 74, will be Sunday at 3 p.m. in Evergreen Mausoleum with the Rev. Eddie Forbus officiating.
Mr. Wagner died Feb. 19 at his residence.
He is survived by his wife, Gloria A. Wagner of Sylacauga; daughter, Rebecca Wagner of Boca Raton, Fla.; sons, Jonathan K. Wagner of Norfolk, Va., and Carl D. Wagner of Orange Park, Fla.; one granddaughter; and several nieces.
The family will receive friends Sunday from 1 until 3 p.m. at the funeral home.
Curtis and Son Funeral Home North Chapel will direct the service.